Select Committee approves anti-terrorism measures

The Justice Select Committee of the Chamber of Representatives has approved a series of measures with which the Federal Government hopes to intensify the fight against radicalisation and terrorism. These include expanding the circumstances under which an individual can be stripped of their Belgian citizenship.

Members of the opposition Flemish socialist and green parties abstained during Tuesday morning’s vote.

The Flemish socialist MP Hans Bonte says that the measures don’t deal with guidance and the observation of those that have become radicalised.

The new measures are part of a twelve point plan announced by the Federal Government after the anti-terrorist operation in Verviers (Liège province) in January.

The new bill also increases the number of terrorist offences for which suspects can have their telephones tapped. Furthermore, travel abroad with the intention of engaging in terrorism will now also become an offence punishable in Belgium.

In future those with dual nationality will have their Belgian nationality revoked if they are convicted of a terrorist offence. Currently this is only possible for those that have been granted Belgian nationality in the past ten years.

The Select Committee voted to approve an amendment to the bill from the Flemish liberal MP Carina Van Cauter. The amendment prevents foreign Jihadi from obtaining Belgian citizenship in the future.

The bill will now be put before MPs at a plenary session of the Chamber of Representatives.